Associated Press Abortion Poll Deviates From Pro-Life Majority in Surveys

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Mar 12, 2006   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Associated Press Abortion Poll Deviates From Pro-Life Majority in Surveys Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
March 12, 2006

New York, NY ( — The Associated Press released the results of a new poll over the weekend supposedly showing a slight majority of Americans favoring abortions in most cases. However, the poll deviates from the norm of most polls showing a majority of Americans oppose virtually all abortions.

The AP-Ipsos poll claims 52 percent of Americans support legal abortion in all or most cases while 43 percent oppose it in all or most cases.

The poll found men and women held similar views on abortion and that two-third of Democrats were likely to support abortion while two-thirds of Republicans were likely to oppose it.

The AP poll, taken from February 28 through March 2nd, also found that a majority of Americans do not want to see Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court cases that allowed virtually unlimited abortion throughout pregnancy, overturned.

The Associated Press results conflict with those from numerous recent polls.

Last week, a Rasmussen Reports survey found that 55% of Americans believe abortion is morally wrong most of the time while just 32 percent disagreed.

A January CBS News poll found 55 percent of Americans took a pro-life position on abortion opposing all or most abortions while just 42 percent supported legalized abortion through part or all of a woman’s pregnancy. A November 2005 Gallup poll found a 54-42 percent pro-life margin, which is similar to Wirthlin Worldwide polls and those from other polling firms.

The AP poll did not tell respondents to specify their opinion on abortion in specific cases, likely yielding poorer results.

Other polls discussing approval of abortion in specific cases find most Americans oppose abortions in general, but support them in very rare cases such as rape or incest or to save the life of the mother. Such abortions constitute less than 2 percent of all abortion cases nationwide.

Looking at other results from the new AP poll, two-thirds of white evangelicals said abortion should be illegal all or most of the time while 54 percent of Protestants agreed. Catholics were evenly split.

When asked whether the federal or state government should decide whether abortion should be legal, respondents were evenly split.

When asked about Roe v. Wade, approximately two-thirds said they did not want it to be overturned, while about one-quarter said they did want it overturned.

Previous AP surveys have erroneously told respondents that Roe allowed abortions only in the first trimester, when it allowed legalized abortion throughout pregnancy and, along with its companion Doe v. Bolton, allowed them for any reason. The questions from the latest AP survey were not available at press time.

The Associated Press-Ipsos poll on abortion is based on interviews with 1,001 adults from all states except Alaska and Hawaii and has a 3 percent margin of error.